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What is a Substantive?

A substantive is an adjectival word or group of words that does not modify a noun but only replaces the nounOpens in new window.

Usually an adjectiveOpens in new window modifies the noun, but in this case, the adjective acting as substantive only takes the place of the noun.

Practical Examples:
  • The meek shall inherit the earth.

In this sentence the word meek, is an adjective. Now, what noun is meek modifying? It isn’t modifying any noun but only stands in itself as a noun. It really stands for something meek which we subconsciously fill in as persons.

The following is another example:
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The good, the bad, and the ugly what? Men, of course. We just automatically fill it in.

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